After getting shellacked 7-1 the night before in Vancouver, nobody would blame you for not wanting to watch tonight's Coyotes game. The good news was that unless you lived in Edmonton or had NHL Gamecenter, you couldn't. The bad news was that it was a game worth watching. The Coyotes rebounded (if you can call beating the Oilers "rebounding") by defeating Edmonton 5-1 this evening. At least the players and coaching staff can have a better Christmas break coming off a win, even if it was against the only team worse than them in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes got off to a much needed quick start tonight, getting a garbage goal much like the Alexandre Burrows tally from the night before. Sam Gagner skated up the right boards and threw a shot low at the goal that somehow found its way behind Ben Scrivens just 1:44 into the opening period. The Coyotes struck again soon after, with Martin Erat tipping a Connor Murphy shot past Scrivens at the five minute mark. Allowing two goals on three shots earned Scrivens the hook, as coach Craig MacTavish quickly turned to Viktor Fasth.
The Oilers would respond shortly after the Fasth insertion. Justin Schultz's wrist shot from the point found its way through traffic and past Dubnyk at 6:18. With momentum shifting and Edmonton maybe getting into the game, the Coyotes made things far too interesting. They took three minor penalties in the final six minutes of the period, giving Edmonton three power play chances.
Given the recent track record of the Arizona PK, it would have been reasonable to expect things to at least be tied entering intermission, if not the Oil somehow getting the lead. Instead, the shorthanded Coyotes rose to the occasion, killing all three opportunities and preserving the one goal lead. Not sure if more credit should be given to the Coyotes effort or #OilersGonnaOil.
The teams exchanged power play tries early in the second to no avail, keeping the score 2-1 Arizona. That would change at 7:54 thanks to a fine effort by the Coyote Captain. Doan would follow the puck after having multiple chances blocked and while behind the net, found a crashing Yandle above the left circle. Yandle's one timer was too fast for Fasth making the score 3-1. The Coyotes would add two third period goals, on the same shift no less, to make the score 5-1. The fourth goal in particular was a nice bit of schadenfreude as a returning Brandon Gormley's point shot was so far wide, it hit Oscar Klefbom's skate and redirected home. Nice to see a bad bounce go the Coyotes' way for once.
The Coyotes won't get coal in their stockings Christmas morning because of tonight's 5-1 victory. That's good. The bad thing is the Coyotes don't play Edmonton again in 2015 until after October 1st. Bah Humbug.
- Edmonton outshot the Yotes 27-22, thanks in part to six power plays. Which the Coyotes all killed. We're through the looking glass here people.
- The last time the Coyotes successfully killed every power play while facing four or more shorthanded situations was October 21st against Nashville. The last time they killed six power plays in a game was January 16th against Vancouver when they went a perfect seven for seven. Anyone else hearing the Twilight Zone theme?
- Sam Gagner had two goals and two assists. It was his first goal since December 2. It was only his second multi-point game this season, the other being November 14, against the Canucks. It was only his third career four point game. He had a four point night March 19, 2009 against the Avs and his astonishing eight point effort against Chicago on February 2, 2012. You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind...
- The Coyotes swept the season series 5-0-0.
- Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves. Good for him.
- Besides Gagner, four other Coyotes had at least two points: Martin Hanzal (3A), Martin Erat (1G and 1A) and Brandon Gormley (1G and 1A).
Our Three Stars of the Game
- Sam Gagner - Hopefully this puts him on track and starts him going. He now has six points in the past four games.
- Brandon Gormley - A healthy return to the lineup and more importantly, cementing his place in the Arizona top 6.
- Tobias Rieder - No points, but five shots and all over the ice. Get this kid some power play time please.
The Coyotes get to take three days off for the Holiday break before going back to work Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.